In June, the Dharma Rain Center celebrated the award of a $200,000 Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Grant for cleanup work at the site of their Siskiyou Square project in the Madison South neighborhood.
The 14-acre, former gravel quarry and landfill at 8500 N.E. Siskiyou St. was purchased by the center in 2012 for $1.75 million and is being redeveloped as a Buddhist meditation center, with a school, offices and living quarters. The cleanup includes thickening the soil cap that isolates buried debris, improving the storm water system and managing methane emissions.
Dharma Rain has now received eleven grants totaling more than $700,000 for the project, including $200,000 from the EPA, $253,781 from the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, $93,781 from the Metro Regional Council Nature in Neighborhoods and $40,000 from the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District Partners in Conservation Program.
During a ceremony in June, following remarks by representatives from the EPA and the DEQ, Jordan Weiss of Jordan’s Mushrooms led a volunteer work party to create fungi-enhanced filter bags and place them in the stormwater swales and channels.
Weiss has been working with the Zen Center on mycoremediation, using mushrooms to remove toxins, for the past two years. Mycoremediation is the use of white rot fungi and their mycelia to filter pollutants. Pollutants commonly found in urban storm water runoff, such as heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are mitigated by the inexpensive and low-impact filters. The filters also eliminate E-coli and other bacteria from pet wastes and waterfowl.